Average spending per pupil is approaching that of independent schools.
Rather than the lack of resources, the reason for poor performance lies in the structure of the education system. In the absence of parental choice, British schools have been subjected to increasingly strong direction from central government. While the aim was to achieve a minimum level of achievement for all children, the result has been persistently low standards, inequity and burdensome regulation
Research (Oct,2005) done by the independent think tank Reform shows that radical education reform, based on allowing parents to choose either state or independent schools at the taxpayers' expense, is supported by a half of all voters and would create thousands of new schools.
A Reform study, The potential benefits of real education reform in England, includes detailed research into the system of school choice in Sweden, held up last week by the former Minister Alan Milburn as a model for the forthcoming White Paper on secondary education. Sweden has seen a dramatic increase in the number of taxpayer-funded independent schools in all areas of the country, including rural and deprived areas. If the Swedish experience was replicated in England, real reform would lead to over 3,500 new schools in twelve years.
Reform also released an ICM poll on education reform. ...
If the Swedish experience was replicated in England, real reform would lead to over 3,500 new schools in twelve years.
Reform also released an ICM poll on education reform. It shows that 76 per cent of voters think that state education is in need of a fundamental review and 49 per cent support choice of both state and independent schools on the Swedish model. A majority of 18-34 year-olds support radical reform.
The study shows that the Government's general election manifesto gives it the mandate it needs to introduce radical reform. But unless the key principle of reform is accepted - that taxpayers' money can follow parental choice freely into the independent sector, allowing new schools to open according to parental demand rather than Local Education Authority decision - any change will be slow and any improvement limited.
The Reform report shows:
1. The Prime Minister and other senior Labour figures have said that a key objective for this Parliament is to increase the number and variety of state schools in England. They have argued for barriers to the opening of schools to be removed and for new schools to be run by private and voluntary providers.
2. This objective is right. At present the provision of schools and school places is not demand-led by parents but centrally planned by Local Education Authorities. The effect of planning decisions over the last two decades has been to reduce the number of schools and to limit the choices available for parents. Since 1984, the total number of state schools has fallen by 13 per cent (a fall of 3,267 schools) in a time of rising pupil numbers.
Prime Minister and other senior Labour figures have made clear that a key aim of
their policy for Parliament is to increase the number and variety of state schools